Goodbye, moderation, hellooooo ice cream

Thursday things.

1. Apparently I make an excellent napping place:

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2. You know that Oscar Wilde quote I always toss around, “Everything in moderation, including moderation”…? Yeahhhhh. About that moderation thing. Out the window it went on Tuesday when I went to Fenton’s and ate this food coma-inducing wonder. Luckily I split it with Vacuum Vati or else I might be dead by now, ha. This was moderation in moderation in action:

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and then.

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muahahhaha.

3. And then last week I ate this: bourbon cornflake ice cream with bourbon caramel and tahitian vanilla ice cream with slivered, sweetened almonds. Thank you, Humphrey Slocombe, for sending me to gastronomical heaven.

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4. AVO!!! I made paleo cookies to use up the last of my coconut flour. They were… ehh. As much as I love coconut, I just can’t get past the sucks-all-the-moisture-out-of-your-mouth grittiness of coconut flour. It’s okay… but ehhhhh is really how I feel about it.

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5. I really like architecture. Juuuuust saying. Neo gothic seems to find me everywhere after my thesis, but I can’t say I’m sorry: it’s like finding an old friend wherever I go!

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6. OHMYGOSH. I made the ehhh paleo cookies. AND THEN. I made… these. They’re amazing and amazing for you. Make them. (Just as long as you’re not allergic to nuts please). I want them for second breakfast since it’s nine and I’ve had eggs and spinach already. Time for cookies, obviously…

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7. One last thing. Um… Downton Abbey?! Helloooo, what a horrible way to end the season. Couldn’t we have just had a nice ending to the SERIES, with everyone all happy and whatnot? Jeez. At least my favorite Machiavellian meddler is still alive and sarcastically kicking—I’d seriously have to quit watching the show if Maggie Smith left. I think I now have sympathetic post-partum depression. Ugh. At least Mad Men is starting up again in April (!!!)… I’ll attempt to fill the gaps between wildly addicting tv shows somehow… more baking perhaps?!

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Chocolate-Date Almond Butter Cookies (No Bake)

The recipe is from Vegetarian Ventures, here! Sooo glad I came across it, these are freaking amazing. Especially with date caramel on top! You can never have too many dates. These cookies are raw, no bake, and vegan (and gluten free!). They’re full of healthy fats, good protein, and antioxidants… annnndddd all they have is natural sugars! No added or refined anything, which means they’re a snack/breakfast/dessert you can eat and love! I got 11 2″ish cookies.

Whatcha need:

  • 1/2 c raw pecans
  • 1/2 c raw almonds (mine were already partly ground)
  • 1 c dates, pitted and soaked in water for about 15 minutes
  • 1/2 c unsalted organic almond butter (I used Maranatha)
  • 1 oz of dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt for a garnish

This is beyond easy, no excuses:

After dates are finished soaking, chuck everything into a food processor, and blend until smooth. Mine went for probably about 3-4 minutes, or until the “dough” forms a bit of a ball. If needed, add a little bit of water (I didn’t and mine stay together fine). Here’s where you get to play with your food! Roll dough into little balls and smoosh them out into a cookie-like shape… make a crisscross pattern with a fork if you’re feeling fancy, and sprinkle with sea salt. Or leave them as balls, up to you! Store in the fridge, in a sealed container with wax paper between the layers. I let mine chill for a bit before eating—they solidify into sort of a fudgy-consistency. Soooo. Freaking. Good!

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Dowager Lady Grantham and Date Caramel

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Hmm. Monday things.

1. DOWNTON ABBEY. OMG. I’m. OBSESSED. Maggie Smith has hands down the best facial expressions. Ever. “That will be an easy caveat to accept, as I am never wrong”… the dowager Lady Grantham is now my role model for getting old. Machiavellian and meddlesome. Heaven help whoever is supposed to be “taking care” of me…

2. Working out is amazing. I was about ready to crawl out of my skin today but then Marilyn kicked my butt and I lifted lots of heavy things and now I feel much better! Time to go eat [cookies, preferably  a sensible post-workout snack].

3. I’m now Mat Pilates 1 certified! Wheeee! Watch this space for further developments.

4. I know this is a little delayed, but too bad because it’s funny anyway. This is what I looked like when I got to Disneyland:

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… annnnnnndddd 13 hours later. Winning.

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6. And yes. I bought myself a princess crown. You should be very jealous. Now I can wear it whilst cooking!!! Because… I’m a princess. Obvs.

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7. Date caramel. There are no words. It’s amazing, you’ll just have to go make it immediately. But before you go, admire the photo up at the top. That little blob? Yep. Amazing. Make it. Thank me later. Okay? Okay. Good. Bye bye, off to the kitchen you go.

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Raw, Vegan and Clean Date Caramel

Ever so slightly adapted from Food Doodles, here! I got about a cup, ish, of caramel, maybe a bit more. This stuff is amazing on pretty much anything you could dream up… like ice cream…whirled with frozen banana….on a spoon….in cookies…. whatever. I put some of mine on cookies (underwhelming cookies, so no recipe), and I’m hoarding/rationing the rest. No big deal.

The what:

  • 2 c pitted organic dates
  • 1/2 c + 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp sea salt

*dates+water+vanilla make the basic caramel. You can leave it like that, or add cinnamon, salt, maple, or whatever your heart desires to taste for something different.

The how:

Firstly. PIT THE DATES. Do not murder your food processor, pretty please… Mine made unhappy noises at first but I promise I got all the pits out of there. Once pitted, chuck them all into the bowl of the processor. Pulse until they form a ball. Add in the water and vanilla, and blend until smooth. This took me about five minutes, and I still have a few very small pieces of date left. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Add in whatever spices you want, and pulse again to incorporate. I keep mine in a sealed jar in the fridge, and I’m sure it’ll keep for a good while, but good luck keeping it around longer than about three days…

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Not really relevant at all but awesome. Who doesn’t love Disneyland at night?

A little cheese with your vegan risotto?

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Stop the presses!

Something savory?! What the what?

But this was amazing, so I had to share. I totally made risotto in less than an hour (And then I made cookies. All within that same hour) And the risotto was vegan. And then I put cheese on it. Don’t judge me, I love me some cheese (Life would be soooo boring without cheese, no?).  All an excellent use of my Monday, I might add.

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I’m not feeling particularly wordy today, so a short post it is. But the recipe is fantastic and was very well received… sooooo since it’s dinner time in my part of the world, this is directed at those of you over here on the west coast with me: y’all should head to the kitchen with your laptop. Right…about…now! You know you want to…

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Vegan Cashew ‘Risotto’

This recipe is slightly adapted from the Whole Foods site, which is awesome as they have some bomb stuff! Served 4, with leftovers for 2-3. This came together really quickly, and is totally nutritious and sooo delicious. It’s economical too, with most ingredients being something you’d have on hand, or that is inexpensive.

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 c unsweetened almond milk (soy, rice, or dairy okay too)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (I used 1.5 frozen cubes, each cube=1 clove)
  • 3/4 c low-sodium veggie broth
  • 20 oz frozen brown rice (which equated to one package. I used frozen as it’s precooked, lessening my cook time)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh marjoram
  • ground cracked pepper, to taste

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Soak cashews in just enough water to cover, for a few hours or overnight (I left mine overnight).

Peel, seed, and slice the squash. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, then add squash and boil until fork tender (4-5 minutes). Take out about a cup of squashlet cubes for later, and let the rest boil until very soft, about another five minutes. Remove squash from water and set aside.

Drain cashews, and add them to a blender (if you have a non-crap one, or a food processor like me if your blender is worthless) with the very soft squash, cinnamon, sea salt, and milk bev. Blenderize or process until smooth.

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Heat a large saute pan with some olive oil over medium heat. Add in garlic and onions once hot, and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are just beginning to brown. Add in broth, frozen rice, and reserved cup of squash cubes, and cook for another few minutes, still stirring (it’s risotto, after all…). Stir in blenderized mix still sitting in your blender*, followed by the minced sage and marjoram. I added just a wee bit more salt here, as well as pepper. Cook for several more minutes, until the sauce reduces a bit and the risotto thickens slightly (6 to 8 minutes more). Remove from heat and stir in more pepper, if desired.

*the original recipe called for 2.5 c of squash cubes. I definitely had waaaay more than that since I went ahead and used the whole (rather large) squash, so when I added the cashew mixture to the risotto, I didn’t use it all (probably about 3/4 of it). Any more and the risotto would have been too soupy—use your judgement based on how large your squash is, and how much liquid your rice absorbs. I love the sauce anyway, as it makes great dip for veggies or over a salad, so I was happy to have 1+ cups left over!

Garnish. Serve. Eat. Love!

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Transitory Friday obsessions and other musings.

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Friday things!!

1. I made these cookies. Again. For the second time in a week.

2. I’m finally not sore. It took me like four days to recover from my last set of workouts Monday-Wednesday, but hey. It was worth it! (Even though that involved being in ridiculous pain trying to hand people things across the cash desk or reach my arms over my head, but whatever. Reaching and handing are clearly unnecessary activities… riiiight?).

3. It is unbelievable how many times people come into the store asking: “sooo… my friend’s aunt’s cousin had these pants…. annnd they were, umm… black… do you have them?” … Really?!

4. My car’s back shocks are currently making the noise of the van’s horn from the movie Little Miss Sunshine. You know, like MmmmEMEMMEMMRMMBmmmbbBMBMMBMMM (that is exactly what horns sound like, by the way) everyyyyy time I go over a bump. I think it’s time to get this looked at…

5. I find this hilarious. Courtesy of Memphis Minnie’s bbq… om nama porkaya hahahah!

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6. Errrmeerrgeerrrddd my peanut butter jar is half empty. Someone rescue me.

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7. Kombucha. With chia. I’m obsessed.

8. I also made grilled pineapple and black bean quesadillas, with avocado and mango chutney. They were a winner, so you get a picture. I’m too lazy to post what barely counts for a recipe, so just chuck some pineapple on a grill pan and call it a day.

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Anyway. Without further ado, you should make these cookies! They’re stupidly easy and full of nutrients, without requiring an extensive list of ingredients or weird kitchen appliances. One bowl, one spoon, and maybe your food processor. Easy money. Gluten free+ lower in sugar+ higher in protein+ whole grain+ antioxidants from the chia+ mental well being from overall deliciousness= happy human.

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Absurdly Simple Peanut Butter-Chia Cookies

Yet another pb cookie recipe, I know I know, but hey. You can NEVER have too many peanut butter cookie recipes in my book. PB+chia is totally a power couple! Especially easy ones you can whip up when you desperately need a cookie. The recipe is ever so slightly modified from Cooking Uncorked, here! I got 15 cookies out of mine–you could easily have more if you made them smaller (though why you would ever do a thing like that is beyond me).

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Lezzzz do eeet:

  • 1 c oat flour (I pulverize a cup of oats in my food processor until fine)*
  • 1/3 c rolled oats*
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1.25 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 c organic chunky peanut butter
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c chocolate chips

*gluten free if needed for a gf cookie

Preheat the oven to 350 and rustle up a cookie sheet.

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Process oats into flour, if needed. Combine dry ingredients… in a bowl. Chuck in everything else. Lick spoon and pb-measuring cup. Ensure that there is no smidge of peanut butter left uneaten (heaven forbid). Clean spoon. Use your well defined and nicely muscled biceps to stir everything together. Drop by heapingish tablespoons onto the cookie sheet. Lick spoon, lick bowl. Bake cookies for 7-8 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is! Let cool for a minute or two on the cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack (or your mouth).

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Being out of cookies is a good thing… said absolutely no one, EVER.

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Welcome to the ridiculousness that is my random life:

Thursday things! A compilation of totally irrelevant, irreverent, and random things. Because I know that you totally want to know all this stuff. Really, you do.

1. I am utter crap at turning my brain off in savasana. Like, I’ll be laying there going “oooh this is good I’m not thinking! Look at me, being a boss in savasana, like a not thinking boss..” and then I realize that there’s this subconscious little stream of thought going on the whole time about random crap. WTF brain?! Can’t you see I’m savasing?? Sheesh. You’d think my own train of thought could give me a break for all of five minutes.

2. Stupidly obsessed with Mad Men. Why won’t they tell me when it’s coming back?! For that matter, why isn’t it on NOW?

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3. I just made cookies. But only two. And all for me. Because I went to Whole Foods in search of a gf/vegan cookie…and. they. FAILED. So I made my own, which were infinitely better and cheaper, as per usual. I think I just made my own day. Besides, I have to power up before bodysculpting class. Duhh. Cookies are clearly an optimal way to do this.

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4. I might look like a fool doing the gangnam style dance, but sorry I’m not sorry don’t care! Ridiculously catchy. I’m sure I look especially precious trying to do it in my car at a stoplight…

5. Saturday morning, I will be consuming an egg and english muffin sandwich for breakfast and I. CAN’T. WAIT. The end of the ridiculousness is in sight! Thank god, I don’t think I could take too much more of this, especially since I’m seeing no noticeable differences. Bread and eggs are happening, ideally together, and as soon as possible. That being said, I have developed a newfound appreciation of buckwheat flour.

6. Based on the last few sets of photos I’ve taken, it would appear that I’ve subsisted the last few weeks on cookies. LIES, I promise I’ve eaten some savory stuff… here and there. Oh. And an enormous pile of spaghetti squash.

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7. I am now out of cookies. How did this happen?

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8. I may be out of cookies, but there are BALLS in my fridge! (hehehe). The recipe is here!

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9. My cats are officially adorable.

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That’s all.. for now! Muahahha.

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Oaty Ginger Cookies

Ever so slightly adapted from Imma Eat That (I freaking love her ideas!). I got 12 cookies. These are excellent with ice cream and peanut butter, juuuust sayin.

  • 1 c + 1 tbsp gluten free oats
  • 1/3 c raw pecans
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed+2 tbsp milk bev
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chippies

Preheat oven to 350. Make flaxegg by combining flaxseed and milk bev, and let sit while you throw everything else together.

In a food processor, whizzzzz oats, pecans, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, and salt, pulsing until combined into a flourlike consistency. Combine pumpkin puree, molasses, and flaxegg in a smallish bowl. Add wet into dry, stirring to combine. Stir in chippies. Form cookie-like shapes and drop onto a cookies sheet (flattening slightly). Bake for 15ish minutes, then cool on a rack!

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Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart!

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Happy December! I love this month. It’s so… festive! And crowded. Sheeesh. Working retail has given me a lovely perspective on people’s shopping habits. Holiday shopping in this country is truly absurd. Where do all these people come from? And where do they hide during the off season??

Alrighty. So I mentioned in my last post that I’m off eggs, and gluten free (due to a variety of things, mostly circulation related. It’s a long story, you can ask me if you’re curious). This means that I’m basically vegan in addition to gluten free. Except I can have dairy and meat. Weird, I know, but just roll with it.

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Um. Yeahhhh. About that. I’m dealing, but it’s requiring a bit of concentration on my part, so that I don’t accidentally consume something I’m not supposed to. At least I was already used to vegan baking, so that switch isn’t too much effort. It’s the gluten free biz that’s killing me—I freaking LOVE BREAD. Arrggg. Ah well, for now it’s only two weeks (and hopefully NOT longer). We’ll see.

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Anyway, at least it’s pushing me to discover new alternatives and diversify my bloglet! I’m trying to keep my costs to a minimum, so that means finding affordable gluten-free flour substitutes. Some I’m familiar with, some not… I promise to only share the tasty ones on here. The flatbread I’m sharing today definitely qualifies as tasty (and cost effective, it only has 4 ingredients!), and ridiculously versatile. It’s made with chickpea flour, which I’ve never used before but is high in protein and fiber (obvi, as it’s made from beeeeeeans!). It’s actually one of the most nutrient-dense flours around: it’s high in folate, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, thiamin, iron, copper, and manganese. Whew! Besides all that, this flatbread has good fats from olive oil. Oh. AND it’s tasty. What more could you want? Yum yum yum. Called Torta di Ceci, this recipe is Italian in origin. I just love it, as you can eat it with pretty much anything (especially cheese, mmmm)—gluten free pizza crust? I think yes.

La la la…. beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat the more you… Well. I’m sure you can fill in the rest of that cute little ditty.

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Torta di Ceci (Italian Chickpea Cake)

Recipe gratefully borrowed from this awesome blog: In Pursuit of More. Makes one sheet, or about 20 playing-card size servings. Plan for a little bit of time, as it needs to sit for 3 hours (at least) before baking. I made mine mid day, so that I could bake it in time for dinner.

  • 2.5 c chickpea flour (also called gram flour, or garbanzo flour)
  • 3.5 c water
  • scant tsp of salt
  • pepper to taste (I like a lot)
  • 1/4 c olive oil (extra virgin cold press, ideally the best quality you can)

Measure out the chickpea flour into a largeish bowl. Slowly pour in the water, whisking continuously to prevent lumps. Once you’ve poured all the water in, add salt and pepper, and give it a few minutes of whisking to make sure it’s smooth. Cover and let sit on the counter for at least three hours.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Skim off any foam from the surface of the batter, with a slotted spoon. Pour the olive oil into a large rimmed baking sheet (mine was about 18″ by 13″ ), tilting the pan so that the oil covers the bottom. When the oven is finished preheating, pour the batter into the prepared pan, in a layer about 1/4″ thick. Carefully transfer to the oven (amazingly I did this without causing a massive disaster), and bake for 30 minutes, until golden. When done, let cool in the pan for a few minutes before serving.

This bread is best hot or warm, and reheats fabulously. I’ve been storing mine in a glass tupperware in the fridge, which seems to work fine. I like mine reheated and sprinkled with cheese. Mmmm.

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For when it’s too hot to wear clothes, much less bake…

mmm, frosty goodness

Ew.

It’s been one of those weeks where you get up and think… do I really have to put clothes on today? Dis.Gust.Ing. Too hot to live, let alone bake. I really am a pacific northwesterner in this regard: hot weather makes me nutty. Today I sort of decided to stick it to the weather and go take a hot yoga class, since I’d been sweating all day anyway. Surprisingly, it was a great idea: maybe there is something to that ayurvedic  idea of eating hot foods on a hot day? Huh. Anyway. After said hot yoga class, all I wanted was a dunk in cold water and one of these.

yum.

Yes.

No bake, for the WIN.

The solution for when it’s too hot to do much of anything and turning on the oven (or really even the stove, let’s be real here) turns into a capital offense. I had grilled cheese for dinner last night (although I did go gourmet with some sauteed veggies, ha) since I was so unmotivated to do much of anything except watch other people (i.e. Olympians) be ridiculously fit. Whatever, I made up for it with my yoga today, so there. And with these bars. These are FAB. And healthy, which is a bonus considering most no-bake items seem to involve some form of strange food product like cool-whip. Let’s not go there, shall we? Back to these:

cooooconut

Mmmm. Banana coconut bars on a nutty date crust. Naturally sweet and so frostily delicious. Bonus points for being gluten free and vegan, as well as refined sugar free. You also get a healthy dose of magnesium from the cashews, calcium from the almond butter, healthy medium-chain fatty acids from the coconut, and potassium from the banana. See? It’s like a complete summer meal in a bar (welllll…sort of). Wheee! Squat and gobble to your heart’s content, I won’t tell… even if you do it in a sports bra and running shorts because, like I said, it’s too hot to live or bother to look decent. Or to blog… this is all I got today!

drippy. LOVE.

Vegan Banana-Coconut Bars

I slightly adapted these from the DAMY health blog, here! These are frosty and best when straight out of the freezer. Easy to make, they come together in a snap and set up decently quickly, satisfying all kinds of crazy summer cravings (Besides, they’re healthy to boot!)

Poke around and scrounge up the following:

For the crust:

  • 1/2 c raw cashews
  • scant 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 c pitted dates, chopped into smallish pieces
  • a tbsp or two of water, if the crust needs a little help to come together

For the topping:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • scant 1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut+ some for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 c organic almond butter
  • 1/4 c light coconut milk
look! another one materialized!

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together cashews, coconut, and date pieces until the dough comes together, with pieces of nuts intact. Add a tablespoon or two of water if it needs a little help. Spread this mixture in the bottom of a lightly greased pan (mine was 9″ square, making thinnish bars), flattening it out as you go. In your food processor once again, blend the topping ingredients, scraping down the sides occasionally, until smooth. Pour the topping on top of your crust, and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Top with some reserved coconut, and cover with plastic wrap or foil (bonus points for foil, it’s recyclable!). Let set for at least 2ish hours before slicing (it should be firm). Store in the freezer!

Love tasty food. Eat. Feel magically cooler… ohmmmm.

eeeeeatmeeeee
one of the nicer parts of warm weather: these are all from my back yard!